Back in August I blogged about my proposal to speak at South By Southwest, the super-hip high impact event every winter in Austin. In October I was thrilled to announce that my proposal was accepted: Let Patients Help: Why Healthcare Must Wake Up.
Well, I have to cancel. It’s an unhappy side effect of two things:
- My skin cancer diagnosis, and a couple other items (below), will hit me with $7,000-$10,000 of unplanned medical bills.
- South By Southwest is such a competitive event that not only do they not pay speakers, you have to pay all your own expenses (travel, lodging, meals).
As a self-employed cancer patient, my insurance choices are few, and I chose $10,000 deductible. I don’t regret that; later I’ll blog about what my choices were, and the reasoning for that choice. No “victim” schtick here.:)
The other items include:
- Two separate dental issues (one requiring an implant) give me $3800 of new bills
- At my recent eye exam (for new glasses), a standard screening showed that I may be heading toward glaucoma, which should be testing and treated. (So far so good, but more bills.)
How ironic: the speaker about patient engagement is turning into a case study instead of a speaker.
The other factor is that I’ve chosen to prioritize rest – my third cancer diagnosis is not fun to think about, even though two are “just” basal cells. SxSW is shoehorned between two trips, creating a 16 day four city run; removing this stop and speech will provide a much appreciated break.
Of course the mission is unchanged, and I’ll do what I can to deliver the same message (see the description at the link above) – it just won’t be at South By Southwest.
Thanks to all of you who gave so much support to my proposal. Have fun and do good work there, all!